Since 1966 historic preservation has been Federal law and in 1978 the Tax Reform Act went further by establishing a tax credit program for rehabilitating older buildings and offered financial incentives to developers to encourage historic preservation, knowing it is more expensive to restore and maintain historic buildings.
The “responsibility (fiscal) to inform potential developers” is also a matter of deflecting financial risk and liability from the City. Should a developer seek one of the incentives above and loses that opportunity because of misinformation from City Staff (i.e., the building isn’t eligible as a landmark as in the case of the Mayfair), he/she has the right to sue the City for the calculated amount of the tax credit and legal fees. Therefore, education regarding historic preservation financial incentives is obviously important for the good of all, and not just a desire to be sentimental about the past.
The Historic Preservation Community (in Ventura) does not wish to enshrine its historic fabric (buildings) and worship them as a monument to the past. Buildings were meant to be used by the living and be a record of their time for the future. That is why adaptive reuse is so encouraged by both the Federal and State government. Additionally, in the past (and the present) there has been too much “What can the City do for ME?” and not enough “What can WE do for the City?” It is the desire of the Historic Preservation Community to work as partners with the City in fostering education and finding equitable solutions for the benefit of all.
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San Buenaventura Conservancy for Preservation
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